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Mastering a Great Handshake for Ottawa Networking Events

eSAX-Ottawa-Networking-Events-Handshake-GuideOne of the most important, but often overlooked, part of successful networking is the handshake.

The origins of handshakes are interesting. They were originally a sign between medieval knights (or ancient Greeks, depending on who is telling the story) to show that they were approaching each other unarmed. Handshakes have remained a way in which people broker relationships, seal agreements, and otherwise commit to honorable action.

Nowadays handshakes are common in business networking, and is one of the few forms of physical contact that we experience in the networking world. It is good to have a solid handshake because it is part of the all-important 90 second “first impression” that people make of you, and a lot can be communicated through this one action.

Handshake basics:

  • Extend your right hand, palm vertical to the ground. If you want, you can tilt your palm slightly toward the sky to indicate openness, humility, and the desire to help.
  • Handshakes should be dry. If you have a problem with clammy hands try to wipe them off before you shake. Men can get away with carrying a handkerchief in their pockets and discretely drying their hands before they shake.
  • Use a firm grip, making sure not to be too weak or too strong.
  • Pump the handshake two or three times from your elbow and forearm, not your shoulder or upper arm. Water pump motion is uncomfortable, jolting, and aggressive to your partner.
  • The handshake should last 3-4 seconds, and should end before your oral greeting does.
  • Signal you are ready to release by relaxing your hand, but if your partner is a longer shaker just hang in there until they are done. You can come off as rude by pulling away before they release.
  • Remember: not everyone likes to shake hands! If you are unsure if someone wants to shake hands then it is okay to pause and wait for them to extend their hand or not.

It’s not just about the hand-to-hand contact! Other important parts of a good handshake include good eye contact, a warm smile, confident posture, and a step in toward the person you are making contact with (without getting too close). Also remember that if you are sitting, you should stand up to shake hands as a sign of respect. Greeting before and during the handshake.

Neuroscience has proven time and again that an impressive handshake leaves people with a better impression of you. Now, this doesn’t mean certain actual personalities use certain shakes, but this doesn’t stop people from making assumptions. Make sure to avoid these handshake “types”:

Handshake types to avoid:

  • The Crusher: Both the “finger crusher” and “bone crusher” variety happen when your grip is too strong. Seriously, don’t crush someone’s hand! If you squeeze too tight they will likely spend your whole pitch time thinking about the pain in their hand rather than actually listening to what you do. These people come off as well-meaning, but overenthusiastic person.
  • The Dead Fish: This is what people call the handshake that has no grip and no pumping action. It is basically placing your hand in theirs. People with dead fish handshake are perceived of as unemotional and apathetic with low self-esteem.
  • The Monarch (also known as Lady Fingers): Offering of just the fingertips shows either superiority, or extreme shyness. Can often be accompanied with the “polite pinch”.
  • The Double Hander (also known as the Politician): Using your other hand to clamp on to the top of their hand, or to even grab their elbow. This is too much contact for just meeting someone. It can make you seem overwhelming, overbearing, and too intimate. It can also make you seem too eager to sell something.
  • The Palm Down (or “Coming from Above”): When your hand ends approaches or ends up on top of the other person’s it appears you are attempting to be authoritative and coming off as aggressive. This can sometimes start as a normal handshake and turn into “the twister” when the other person’s hand ends up on top.

Practice your handshake on friends, coworkers, or colleagues and ask them for their honest opinion. It might seem silly, but it is a great way to find ways to improve if you’ve never gotten feedback from anyone on your handshake. It’s the best way to figure out your grip if you are otherwise unsure! You will have a great handshake for Ottawa Networking events in no time!

 

Some Good Questions To Ask At Networking Events

Today our #AskTheFedora shares some good questions to ask at networking events.

Transcript:

My favorite questions to ask people at networking events is anything but business. A lot of the time I’ll go up to somebody and I know they are aching to give me their business card. But I’ll play around with it a little bit. I’ll ask them how did you get to the event? Was there traffic? Where you stuck in traffic? What part of town did you come from? I see you’re wearing runners…do you run? I ask them anything outside of business to really get to know them. Some of my favorite questions to ask is if you’ve been to this event before; have you met the organizer; is there anyone here I can help introduce you to? Because this doesn’t come across as a sales pitch. When you go out of your way to really connect with somebody in a way to help them connect with other people, those are really good questions to ask.

Starring: Jarrod Goldsmith of eSAX and Sax Appeal.

With help from Wasim from Storyline Productions and Jessica from Hewett Ripley Communications!

eSAX Networking and the Marketing “Rule of 7”

eSAXNetworkingEventsOttawaMarketingRuleof7
If you are familiar with marketing, you may have heard of the “Rule of 7” that suggests a marketing message must reach a potential customer at least 7 times before they make the decision to buy from you.

Obviously that number is flexible, with some prospects buying sooner or later than the seventh communication, but the generally agreed-upon number to aim for is 7. Why is this information here on a blog about networking? Because this simple adage supports the eSAX networking position that people should not try to make a sale the first time they connect with a prospect. Networking should be just step one of a long-term engagement plan that will push people through a sales funnel over time.

Having seven “touches” (as they are often referred) with someone lets them come to know you, trust you, and eventually buy from you. The word “touch” is often used, not because you should make physical contact, but because it invokes a human connection. In-person touches are oftentimes stronger than other marketing techniques because seeing a person’s body language and hearing their tone and infliction builds trust and relationships on a deep and human level. Making that face-to-face connection, and actually shaking hands and introducing yourself and your business will make you way more memorable than you could be through print or online marketing alone. This is an ideal time to try to make a meaningful connection at this point through stories that will make you and your brand memorable.

Why don’t people buy right away? One of the simplest reasons is that they just don’t need your product or service right now (which is why maintaining contact will keep you in mind when they DO have need for you), but another huge reason is simply that people don’t usually buy when they don’t trust. Think of all the advertisements we are bombarded with on TV, the radio, billboards, and even on social media. Brands have to work hard to build familiarity and trust to break through the consumer walls that we build to block out the constant noise.

Think of meeting someone at a networking event as the first contact. Following up with an email, a LinkedIn connection, and a coffee meeting (or skype chat) is a great next few touches. After that you must maintain consistent and repetitive contact if you want to continue to nurture that lead.

To read about more ways to connect with your customer, go over to my coordinating blog post!

Ottawa eSAX Networking Recap: October 2014

eSAX Netoworking Ottawa Recap October 2014

We’ve had about a week to recover from a fabulous night of networking last Wednesday at the Ottawa Marriott. The event was held Wednesday, October 8 from 6-9pm. This eSAX networking event was particularly special to me, as it marked my “one year” anniversary as a networker. Last year the October event was held at Lago Bar and Grill, and while we had a beautiful view of Dow Lake and the fall foliage then, this year topped that one with the great view of Downtown Ottawa!

eSAX attendees rode the Marriott elevators up to the 28th floor where they were greeted by our Accountapotamus sponsors manning the registration tables. If you were pre-registered you could be checked off the list and after you put your business card in the fishbowl for a chance to win a door prize you headed up the stairs to the 29th floor! If you didn’t pre-register you simply had to pay the $30 charge and have your name added to the list.

The mood was instantly set as soon as you stepped into the room. Dynamix Productions had AV displays and lighting set up, and Sax Appeal was playing the smooth jazz tunes. Each attendee was given a swag bag, courtesy of new eSAX sponsor Creative Equilibria. In each bag was marketing collateral (including an eSAX pen) from businesses that opted to have their information included. This was a great option to get your marketing material directly into the hands of 275 excited entrepreneurs! The swag bags also had programs and tweet sheets printed by eSAX sponsor Sure Print and Graphics.

The 29th floor of the Ottawa Marriott is a circular rotating room. For eSAX all of the booth sponsors were set up around the exterior perimeter, so they slowly circled the room while attendees could walk the floor or step to the side to stay on the stationary platform. There was a cash bar and snacks brought around on trays by the great Ottawa Marriott staff. You couldn’t miss the fun Flashpoint Photobooth setup! Always remember to stop by their display and get your free souvenir photo printout (and code for the free digital download) with your favorite entrepreneur!

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Everyone mixed and mingled and exchanged business cards until our speakers for the night were brought on by Masters of Ceremonies Derick Fage of Daytime Ottawa. First Trefor Munn-Venn of Rhapsody Strategies came out and discussed the importance of earning and establishing trust, and then Michael Hughes of Networking for Results continued this theme with discussing how networking is about making meaningful relationships. The Ottawa Chamber of Commerce took the stage for a bit, and shortly thereafter Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson showed up to give some support and a nice speech to the crowd!

Then there was one of the arguably most exciting parts of the night – door prizes! There were lots of great prizes donated and Speak Easy monitored the tweets all night to announce the top Twitter influencers of the night! Afterwards there was more time for getting in the last bit of networking before it all closed down for the night.

We look forward to the documentary film put out by our sponsor Storyline Productions!

Registration for the January 2015 eSAX Ottawa Networking Event is already available. Make sure to purchase now to take advantage of pre-registration savings.

eSAX is an entrepreneur networking event that encourages startups to create connections, gain knowledge from featured speakers and promote collaboration among regional Chambers of Commerce. eSAX Ottawa Networking events are held every three months to coincide with the Y Enterprise Center’s Ontario Self-Employment Benefit Program (OSEB).

Join the eSAX Facebook Page or connect on Twitter using #eSAX to get the latest news, tips, and networking advice.

Do you have a blog recap or review about your time at eSAX? We would love to include the links here! Just email them to and they will be added to the Event Page!

eSAX October 2014 Location Change!

Ottawa Marriott Hotel

(Image Source)

Once a year eSAX moves the Ottawa Networking Event to a new location. I love the Funhaven location, but I also enjoy the fun of visiting a new place and stirring things up. In a way, it takes us out of the “comfort level” we can reach, and it ensures that we never lose that “new” feeling. This is one of the reasons why eSAX is so great at helping entrepreneurs constantly grow, learn, and develop as successful business people.

Jarrod has just announced that this year the October event will be held at the Ottawa Marriott on 100 Kent Street! Not only do we get to enjoy our night at a luxury hotel, but we also get the exclusive benefit of one of the best views in the city from the revolving event venu!

This location does have free Wi-Fi, so don’t forget to live tweet while you are there!

Make sure you don’t miss one of the most fantastic Ottawa networking events on October 8, 2014! Get your tickets now on EventBrite to make sure you reserve your spot!